Donor Embryos

Baby Couple

Embryo donation is an exciting new option in modern infertility treatment offered at our Sandy, Utah Infertility Clinic. While most couples would initially prefer to have children using their own eggs or sperm, due to numerous factors beyond their control many couples find that this is not possible.

For couples where both the wife and the husband have significant fertility factors decreasing their chances for conception, this is a wonderful alternative in addition to traditional adoption. We make this technology possible for local couples and our infertility clinic also serves Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.

Many couples consider the use of a donor embryo a very early adoption. A good example of an ideal couple would be a husband who has no sperm (azoospermia) due to lack of sperm production (sertoli cell only syndrome, testicular cancer, chemotherapy, etc) and the wife has poor egg quality due to advancing reproductive age or premature menopause. Some couples prefer the use of a donor embryo over the use of donor sperm or donor eggs.

Prior to the initiation of donor embryo programs, traditional adoption was the only option this couple would have. Donor embryo allows the couple to experience the wonder and joy of pregnancy, labor and delivery while allowing the wife to carefully control the pregnancy environment (taking prenatal vitamins, good diet, avoiding alcohol, tobacco or unnecessary drugs).

A frequently asked questions is, “Where do donor embryos come from?” Donated embryos can come from a variety of sources. Most frequently other infertile couples who have undergone IVF treatment and achieved the family of their desired size chose to donate embryos rather than have them discarded.

Couples who chose to donate find that this is a much more difficult and time-consuming option for them compared to discarding the embryos. The couples are requested to provide extensive information regarding their personal and family medical and genetic information. The couples also are asked to provide updated infectious disease testing such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

If they have not been testing previously, donating couples are also requested to undergo testing for ethnic specific genetic risks such as cystic fibrosis for Caucasian and sickle cell disease for Black couples. At the RCC a genetics counselor carefully reviews their medical information. Regretfully, some embryos need to be eliminated from donation due to infectious or significant genetic disease risk issues.

Donating couples are not paid for their embryos but some may receive compensation for their time and efforts in completing the required screening process. Couples who donate tend to want to help other infertile couples who are going through the same often-frustrating process that they went through.

Embryos that are donated have been frozen at the time of the initial fresh IVF cycle. They could have been stored for several months or even several years depending on the circumstances. Most programs encourage couples not to donate extra embryos until after the baby has been delivered and is doing well. Many couples prefer to wait until the child is 1-2 years old before making the decision to donate.

Couples usually incur storage charges during this time which remind them to make a decision regarding management. Pregnancy rates with the use of donated embryos Pregnancy rates with the use of donated embryos are highly dependent on the age (at the time of the egg retrieval) of the woman who donated the eggs, the quality of the donated embryos, and the number of embryos that the recipient couple is willing to transfer. In general, the younger the age of the donating woman, the higher the pregnancy rate. The higher the quality of the embryos based on embryology scoring systems, the higher the pregnancy rate.

Frequently couples will choose to transfer between 2 and 3 thawed donated embryos. Typically pregnancy implantation rates between 5-15% per embryo transferred or 30% per embryo transfer can be expected. Finding donated embryos Once a couple have decided to pursue the use of donated embryos, the first step is to find embryos that would be acceptable for their use.

Like many other infertility centers, the Reproductive Care Center has a list of our currently available donated embryos but most programs also have a waiting list of couples who are interested in the donated embryos. Couples should also be encouraged to contact other agencies to determine if they have embryos that could be used.

Embryo Donation